Category Archives: Universal salvation

A Major Problem With Believers in Reformed Theology

I was brought up as an adult in a Southern Baptist Church that was basically Arminian in belief.  In other words, the altar call was the usual weekly place where people would go during a church service to “give their hearts to the Lord.”  It was where they chose Christ as Savior and Lord.  Then as years went by, I slowly transitioned to the doctrines of grace, or Calvinism.  As I studied more and more, I began moving into New Covenant Theology which I believed was more accurate than the first two.  Since then I have obviously moved to becoming a believer in universal salvation, understanding this to be, in my mind, the closest and best understanding of God’s nature as He has revealed Himself to be.

During my years as a Calvinist, I read much and did what I could to understand the arguments and explanations of that belief system so I could argue or “apologize” for the system.  I wrote classes for my church.  I wrote papers and blog articles.  I bought many books on traditional reformed theology and Baptist reformed theology, Southern Baptist and Reformed Baptist.  During this time I also graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, KY.  One thing I began to notice as time went by, time spent in the “reformed” or “Calvinist” camp, was how lacking in care for others was so prevalent.  Sure, the talk was about loving people, but it sure wasn’t shown when an Arminian walked in the door!  To be fair, many of the Calvinist church people I was around were loving to me and my family.  I found out they lied and cheated just like Arminians did.  I found out (and even fostered) that there was a largely antagonistic tone during almost all talks with those who opposed Calvinism.  The conversation would start out OK, but given enough time, it would typically devolve into a shouting match, with both sides anathematizing each other,and then going back to their churches regaling the victory!  Success wasn’t measured in loving others, but in how many times they stumped their opposition!  Having more answers than their detractors seemed to be the victory many Calvinists I was around were seeking.  How unfortunate, I was like them, too!  My demeanor changed from loving people to loving to be right.  The antidote?  A fuller understanding of God’s grace as espoused by Christian/Evangelical Universalism.

I am slowly evolving, moving away from what I used to be to what God has created me in His image to be; a lover of Him and others.  I admit it is hard to cast off the old ways and I understand what Paul suffered through, so entrenched in a philosophy that IT IS your identity!  But that brings me to the point of this article.

I recently read a couple tweets regarding Calvinism from a Calvinist.  This person wrote two tweets saying basically that people who come to embrace Reformed theology need to stay off social media with their beliefs until they have at least two years of delving into the belief system to ensure they are well grounded in that system and in a local church as well.  This, the person states, will help guard against being puffed up in that faith system.  Apparently this person sees a problem in reformed circles with this attitude.  I concur.  I have seen it first hand, since I was one of the people this person warns against.  I didn’t listen.  I was excited about these “new” beliefs.  I had to tell everyone what the Bible “really” said, so they to could understand it.  I was obnoxious, unbearable, unloving, and worse (if that’s possible!).

I remember distinctly trying to figure out how some theologians arrived at their conclusions on scripture texts, when I didn’t see it no matter which way I looked at the texts.  I found myself saying an awful  lot of “what Jesus really means is/what Paul really means is, what God really said is….  Why?  because my new belief system (reformed/Calvinist theology didn’t come together as easily as I had been led to believe.

One comment I want to make before I forget it is this.  If your belief system causes you to make statements like I just mentioned in the previous paragraph, I think you need to take a serious look at your system.  If plain readings of the text (of course in the NT context, not our 21st century context, first off) don’t make some sense, common sense, and you need to give strained explanations of the text, especially by having to re-define words, your system may not be as coherent as you think.  If God’s love is not at the center of all that takes place, biblically speaking, then I suggest you have a wrong understanding of the texts.  Do bad things happen in the bible?  Yes.  But, if there is no purpose to it and a purpose you assign to it does not lead to God’s ultimate good for all of His creation, then I suggest again that your system needs to be re-done or chucked out the window.

Rather than go off on a lot of different tangents right now, let me just say this again.  When I read of people saying things like this person mentioned, not being out in public explaining or reasoning the belief system of reformed theology for years because there is too many un-Christian attitudes and beliefs being espoused / lived-out, that is a HUGE RED FLAG to me that something is wrong.  If a system says, God chose you, you didn’t choose Him (which BTW I believe) and people in that system project the attitude “I got mine, maybe you’ll get yours (maybe not, it’s all up to God anyway and who can know who the saved are going to be!), I am better than you” there is a huge problem.  If that same system goes further and says that God created all things, said they were good, then decides not to choose some of that creation to be reconciled to Himself, saved, and restored, then there is a huge problem with your system.  I could go on, but I think I have made my point.  They will know we are Christians by our love for each other (all humanity).  They will know we are following God when they see that love for each other.  If your system says it is like that or believes that, but it doesn’t work out that way most oftentimes, then there is a HUGE problem with your belief system.

I need to move on with my day so my thoughts need to stop for now.  As always, comments are appreciated and will be responded to the best I can.  I appreciate all my regular readers from all over the world (all continents except Antarctica, so far!) and hope that as you read here, you will grow in faith and hope in the living God and that you will continue to love others as God also loves you!

Blessings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

 

 

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It is pretty sad if this life is the only chance to believe in God/Christ

My thinking was expanded by a recent writing I read that put life, learning, and belief in God in a bit of a different light.  Good?  Bad?  To me, extremely good, but I will let you judge as to how it affects you personally.  Rather than quote the writing, I want to summarize it and put it in my own words to see if I have truly grasped what was being said.  At the end, I will give you the link to the original article for your comparison.  Learning, I believe, requires this kind of understanding and attitude.  So, here goes.  Oh, if you could comment and let me know if I hit the mark or not, I would appreciate it!

We start out life, helpless, depending on others for everything, all of life’s sustenance.  I have been told that the most formative years are before a child reaches 4-5 years old.  They will learn a majority of all they learn (how to act, basics of life, etc) in these years.  We come to understand the world around us from personal experience, our parents, friends, and others who step into our lives and give us input.  And at some level, the environment around us helps shape us as well (growing up in warm vs. cold climates, growing up in the U.S. vs. the Middle East, etc).  And yet, the most formative years, with the most learning taking place, is learning at the hands of others who are broken and battered by life and environment. They have not arrived.  They are not perfect teachers giving us perfect information upon which we can base our own decisions on.  There was a saying I grew up with:  Practice makes perfect.  And later in life, that maxim was altered, thankfully, to this:  Perfect practice makes perfect!  This is my point.  We are created by a perfect God who thrusts us into imperfection to learn from imperfection and do something with it.

We are born immature, taught by immature young adults who are, in turn, still learning from immature older adults (oftentimes!).  I say these things because what we learn early on stays with us for years until it is changed through many trials and disappointments and struggles, and the like.  It is changed due to a change of attitude and philosophy of life and the world, and is played out, maybe, in actions before we pass from this life.

Two conclusions to draw from these things: 1.)  With such an impairment of our understanding of how things truly are, according to God and His will, we are no more competent than a 2 year-old to make competent choices even as adults, for the most part.  So regarding our eternal destiny, if you will, is this life truly the best way for God to measure us, to judge us, to hold us accountable for our beliefs (for you free-will-ers out there!), or to grant us belief (for you Calvinists out there!)?  Let me put the first point this way:  We are born in ignorance, we live in ignorance, and we die in ignorance, speaking of who God truly is.  Yes, granted some may learn considerably more about God than others, or maybe even live in Christ more than most, but overall, I believe this statement to a large extent is true regarding the person and work of God.  2.)  Is not God responsible for this ignorance and does He not share in at least some of the responsibility of our ignorance of Him?  As our caretaker, our Father, is He truly a success, or better said, a loving God who has our best interest at heart?  We are His workmanship, made to bear His image, right.

So, are we given all the resources we need during this life to understand who God is and what He has done for all mankind, or, is there more to follow in the ages to come?  Is 70-80 years of imperfect life the proving ground and the only possibility we have for life with God or will He truly, one day, one age, reveal to all people who He truly is and melt the cold hearts and win all people, becoming all in all?  Do we truly believe that God’s more abounding grace, a grace greater than sin, a grace more profound and empowering than any lie could thwart, any sin could confound, is so impotent as to not save ALL of God’s image-bearers?  Is God truly a merciful and gracious Father, the good News for the whole world, the world, all mankind that Jesus said He would lift up, if He was put to death on the cross (and He was!)?  In other words, if God will not save all of us imperfect people, His creation, does He not also bear the responsibility for that loss, making Him the only one who consigns people to eternal conscious torment in hell forever and ever (if that is what you believe according to the modern church and modern, traditional  Christianity), which I by the way, do not believe in?

Your thoughts are always coveted and your responses welcomed.  Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

P.S. Almost forgot to give the link:  Why Think that God’s Grace is Sufficient for Apokatastasis?

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As Followers of Christ We Must Realize the Logic of Our Beliefs

The more I study the Christian belief system, the more I am amazed at the illogical stance of mainstream Christianity’s beliefs.  It is no wonder to me, anymore, why many of the world’s peoples look upon Christians as duped and ignorant, unwilling to see the logic of what they espouse.  Most of my former “Christian friends” in the reformed tradition (specifically Baptist) rail, as I did, against anything mystical, yet then support their whole belief system by mystical things.  For instance, I used to deny the validity of any Christian writer who claimed to be inspired by God to write things that were not spoken about in the Bible.  Yet, I had easily believed that the books written in the collection of 66 books we call the Bible today were not only inspired, but totally infallible and inerrant in every jot and tittle penned.  Logic tells us that God used more than just a few men to speak inspirationally to all mankind throughout all of history.  And, though I may not be understood in the last statement by all who read this, and my belief in God may be questioned, I would like you to seriously read the blog article in the following link, as this will hopefully open a few minds up to what I am driving at.

Gary Amirault has written an article the other day and posted it on his Tentmaker.org blog site.  I provide the link here called Spiritual Rape.  Think about the logic of what he says in this article.  Get your mind past an “offensive” statement he might make that cuts across your feelings.  It is a short 4 paragraphs long and will take you a couple minutes, at most, to read.  the implications are very stark and applicable to all who call themselves Christians.  Take off your denominational, or non-denominational denomination glasses, and THINK!

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Don’t Let Sin Reign in Your Mortal Body

Here is my provocative question for this post.  When you read what Paul wrote in Romans 6:12, “Let not Sin, then, be reigning in your mortal body, for you to be obeying its lusts.” (CLV, Concordant Literal Version), do you:

A. Believe this to mean “stop sinning” and refers to the “acts of sin” OR

B.  I will never stop sinning in my mortal body but thankfully as a new creation in Christ my sins have been removed and sin no longer tells me what to do, I tell it what to do! (get lost!)

If you choose A., then you are in league with the whole modern church today.  You believe just as most every other believer today because you believe that Paul is telling you to quit committing acts of sin, like adultery, swearing, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  It also means you will probably seek to remove all appearances of evil and sin from your life.  Example:  We don’t believe it is a sin to drink alcohol, but we require our leaders to abstain from drinking alcohol because we do not even want to give the appearance of sin, or cause even the least of our brothers to stumble.  Or, I have been “saved” by God and in my past have struggled with pornography, therefore, when I want to rent a movie from Netflix, I search only G-rated movies because I do not even want to be tempted to sin.  Or, I know overeating is a sin, but I have a lust for pizza so, as a believer, I will never go down the pizza aisle at the grocery store, nor will I go to parties where pizza is being served.

If you chose B., you look back at my last paragraph and say, “Wow, I am glad I am not like those sinners over there!”  No, I am only kidding!  But seriously, you probably realize that Paul’s whole case in Romans is not some theological treatise for the seminary classroom, nor for the making of super saints!  It is for everyone, saved and unsaved alike.  It is especially for believers who understand that they will never be NOT sinning in this mortal body but thankfully Jesus paid it all, paid for every sin, past, present, and future, on the cross and in his resurrection.  You realize that you are not defined by your sin but by your identity with and in Christ.  When you realize you sin, and you realize it is an anomaly, that because you treasure His grace, you stop and say, “No more,” and you continue on reveling in the grace that super-exceeds the sin you just committed.  Then, rather than being sad over your sin, and letting sin ruin your disposition, you push it aside and focus on the grace of Christ, His ever and over-abundant love for ALL OF HIS CREATION, and go about praising Him the rest of the day!

Which kind of person are you?  Which kind of person do you want to be?  Think about it!  Send me your comments and let’s dialog about it.  Questions?  Me, too.  Let’s help one another find answers! As always,

Love in Christ,

Craig

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Why I Chose Colossians 1 For My Main Page

It has been a long time since I discussed this verse (passage) of Scripture so I just wanted to add a short post for the benefit of a few readers that I believe can use it most.

 

(Col 1:15) Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature,

(Col 1:16) for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him,

(Col 1:17) and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him.”

(Col 1:18) And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first,

(Col 1:19) for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell,

(Col 1:20) and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.”

(Col 1:21) And you, being once estranged and enemies in comprehension, by wicked acts, yet now He reconciles”     Concordant Literal Version (CLV)

and compare a traditional version such as the ESV:

(Col 1:15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

(Col 1:17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

(Col 1:18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

(Col 1:19) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

(Col 1:20) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

(Col 1:21) And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

 

In Christ, verse 19, the fullness of God dwells, or the entire complement of God, all of God.  And, through Jesus, God reconciles to Himself ALL things, everywhere.  And as He does this, peace is made through the blood of the cross, peace between God and His creation (ALL THINGS).  For too many years I had blinders on and did not receive the truth that Paul was proclaiming here in these verses.  But, now the blinders are off and I see the glorious truth being proclaimed.  God will never settle for saving some, or in Paul’s words here, God will never settle for reconciling some to Himself.  No, this would never do for an almighty, loving God who said that He created everything at it was good.  Even in creations’ corruption, God still sees the good and has been executing His plan for reconciling back ALL things to Himself.  The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus has, is, and will save all mankind, AND all the rest of creation as well that needs to be saved and redeemed.  Why?  Because, it is God’s will that this happens.  How are we to be sure that Paul meant ALL THINGS?  In verse 20 Paul says that ALL will be reconciled to God, whether on earth or in heaven!

To me, and I hope to you, this passage brings an immeasurable hope fro the future of you and your loved ones.  If your Gospel lacks this inclusiveness, if it lacks even one person being ultimately reconciled to God, then the “good news” you have been proclaimed, or that you proclaim to others is not THE GOOD NEWS.  It is, in fact, terrible news, because it means that you cannot trust a word of the Bible, a word that proceeds from the mouth of God, so to speak.  Think deeply about these things and allow yourself to be transformed by the renewing of your mind with the truth of Colossians 1:15-21!

Blessings to you and love in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Craig

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“New creation” Christians should never ask what Jesus would do!

No new thoughts here today from myself, but stunning truth from Martin Zender, who I am seeming to relate to more and more.  Here are some comments from him that totally resonated with me and make sense out of the Scriptures.  Martin talked about a passage from Paul’s writings, 2 Cor 5:14-17.

 

14 For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that, if One died for the sake of all, consequently *all died.
15 And He died for the sake of all that *those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to the One dying and being roused for their sakes.
16 So that we’, from *now on, are acquainted with not one according to flesh. Yet even if we have known Christ according to flesh, but nevertheless now we know Him so not longer.
17 So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has become new!

We are no longer living for ourselves.  We have been made completely new and compare more to Jesus’ resurrected state than we do to the world’s state, flesh, what we used to be.  Verse 17 says the old has passed away (the primitive).  What is the old?  The old is the world’s system, the Israelite system, everything Old Testament and everything pertaining to Jesus’ instructions to the Jews that He came predominantly to instruct.  Think about it.  We are so self-absorbed.  And no, I am not talking mainly about the unsaved in this life. I am mainly talking about those who should know better, believers in Christ.  We Christians are so self-absorbed that all we seem to think about is how much we sin, how badly we sin, how much more we need to be like Christ in our actions, how much better we are than other believers, how much less we are than other believers, and on and on, gag me!  The more we talk about, as Martin puts it, “surrendering the self”, the more we find ourselves having to dig out our old creation from the grave it was buried in with Christ and propping it up, and then abusing the old man (who is dead) and trying to make that corpse understand how bad it is, how much it is not following Christ, etc.  News flash!:  the old man is dead and CANNOT do anything  for he is dead.  He doesn’t hear nor understand your constant instructions to do better!

If we are no longer supposed to live to ourselves, and we are not, vs. 15,  we are also not to know Christ any longer according to the flesh.  Craig, what do you mean?  I mean, we live to Christ, not self.  We live to Christ not in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Analyzing self all the time, like we are told to do in the traditional church today, is against what Paul said we should be doing.The pre-occupation with flesh goes back to the age-old problem the church has had.  The church believes that unless people’s sins (flesh and fleshly living in particular) are kept ever before the average church members’ eyes, they will forget how awful they are and simply do whatever they want to do and begin to think the church irrelevant.  They will leave the church for other things.  Then the church will not have money to pay for pastors’ salaries and buildings and you name it.  So, pastors must always preach sin rather than grace.  In all the churches I have been a part of, sin was always more prevalent than grace.  So, instead of Romans 5 and 6 ruling the day (especially “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!), it is Satan’s stain of sin, Adam’s downfall casting all of mankind into sin and eventually eternal conscious torment in hell (which I don’t believe is true!), and then all the guilt we should feel about the fact that we are filthy sinners deserving of hell and torment, rather than new creations in Christ, enjoying the abundant grace that surrounds us at every moment.

Think more about it.  We say we stand condemned before God because we are sinners, and when we are saved do we feel any less condemned based on what you hear in church every Sunday?  Hell no!  Paul says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is our condemner, yet He died for us, and He was resurrected for us, and He is pleading our case to the Father, and so, are we still condemned?  Hell no!  We are no longer acquainted with Christ in His flesh but in His Spirit and in His resurrection and we stand no longer condemned.  We are free in Christ to love Him more abundantly than ever.  It no longer is the desire of the Christian to align himself with the shoulds (i.e. I should follow the 10 commandments, I should go to church more, I should give more, etc.) but aligned with wants (I want to love God more because I am no longer under condemnation, and I want to love His creation more, and I want to show my love to others in Christ, and I want…).  Let me sum it all up this way.  No matter how much I may sin (though my desire to sin diminishes and really should not even be a concern), God’s grace is covering over that in such a greater way that it obliterates the sin and focuses my desire more and more on His grace and love rather than wrath that I will not experience!  Christian, quit analyzing your every behavior, which is self-focused, and focus on God’s abundant grace that comes in measures that would blow your mind!

Sorry for rambling on, and I hope this makes some semblance of sense (it sure does in my mind!).  But, as always, my comment box is open and I would sure love to hear what you have to say, questions, comments, etc., especially the newer ones coming to my blog.  Grace and peace to you!

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Part 2 – What do you say when…

OK, back to the issue at hand.  Remember Romans 5:20, “Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing.  Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds.”  In other versions, you may have read this verse to say where sin abounds, grace does much more abound, or something to that effect.  Let me now ask a series of questions for those who have been raised in the church and still defend the modern church business as it is.

1.  What was the purpose of the law?  (A. To increase sin Romans 5:20)

2.  Can we merit grace from God?  If so, what must we do to merit God’s grace?  (A. No, no answer because we cannot merit grace from God, meaning we cannot earn God’s grace by anything we do)

3.  Since we cannot earn God’s grace,  can we do something against people or God that would nullify God giving His grace?  What would that be?  (A.  No, we cannot nullify God’s grace.  Why?  Because where sin increases, and Paul does not say sin against whom, God’s grace superexceeds that sin.)

4.  Why does the modern church and its leaders continuously teach that we can sin against people or God and miss out on God’s grace, as if Romans 5:20 does not exist?

I think you are getting the point.  Here is what I think about NOW, versus what I used to think, which is that even the horrible sinners like Hitler and Stalin and others in recent history will receive God’s grace at a point in God’s history.  I even believe that the chief of sinners will receive God’s grace and will even tell us stories of how bad he was (oh, wait, that story has already been told by Paul in 1 Tim 1:15) that we would understand more fully how deep and wide and high God’s love and grace are!  Even if Paul does not tell this story, we will ALL find out one day how abundant God’s love and grace really are!

You see, the modern church is still hung up on the law rather than grace.  It is still about works and not grace.  No matter what any of them say, they all still rely on works (if they believe in an eternal conscious torment in hell) to keep them from hell and position them in heaven.  If they truly believed that sin isn’t the issue, but grace is (I believe Paul is trying to explain that we should not be focused on sin, ours, your, mine, whatever!), they wouldn’t try to scare people into heaven by thoughts of “hell.”  After all, what is scary about grace?  Nothing!  So many Christian leaders in the modern church MUST keep people scared and threaten them with eternal torment or else they wouldn’t do the things the modern church needs done (paying for buildings, pastor salaries, trips around the world, etc.).  If every Christian was hung up on grace, meaning they were given over to God’s grace and living in it, then there would be true unity in the Body of Christ and no need for all the materialism of the modern church.  We could simply get together with our neighbors next door and around the block and have grace-filled fellowship with them!  Wow, how cool would that be?

Anyway, I will close this now and save a little for the next article, possibly even finishing out my thoughts on Paul’s teaching of God’s grace .  Until then, may God’s grace be your focus and may your sin fade into the past, to the back of your mind and thoughts.  Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

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Most Christians Deny the Power of God

4 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction. 3 For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, ⌊because they have an insatiable curiosity⌋, 4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths.  (2 Tim 4:1-4, LEB)

I have preached this text a number of times over 15 years of pastoring churches and preaching sermons.  In the beginning it was more toward those who spoke of a call to the preaching ministry (being a pastor as they call it).  I exhorted those men to always be ready to preach, never turn down an opportunity.  I also taught those same men to preach the whole counsel of God (the whole Bible, not just pet doctrines or passages) and not only the easy passages.  In these “last days”, I taught, people won’t want to hear the truth and will only follow after those they agree with.  They will even try to get rid of you as a pastor if you don’t preach what the congregation wants to hear (boy, did I verify the truth of that statement in my own ministry!!!).  The people in church, you know, the Christians, will even begin following after the likes of Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyers, the feel good preachers of health and wealth.  The only way to combat this was to keep preaching the truth and God will change their minds when He is ready.  But, we pastors should not “go easy” on them but keep telling the Christians the hard truths, like turn from your sin and false teaching or burn in hell forever.

Well, here is my truth statement:  Most Christians deny the power of God!

Listen to what Paul says in 2 Tim 3:1-5:

3 But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, 5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power.  (2 Tim 3:1-5, LEB)

As I have been misled and deceived by one church leader after another , this list of Paul’s truly showed me that this is an apt description of many Christians today, not just people outside the church.  As I have been thinking lately, something struck me hard, right between the eyes, as they say.  Most Christians deny the power of God.  How, you ask?  Most Christians are trying to maintain a form of godliness, following the laws laid down before them (the 10 commandments, the by-laws of the church they are members of, membership rules, any other legalistic do’s and don’t’s church leaders can come up with).  And, on the outside they look and feel like godly people.  They look good, smell good, but they still deny God’s power.  Again, how, you ask?

They deny God’s power by saying or believing that God is not able to save all mankind (all people who have ever lived, past, present, and future).  They say that God is loving yet most of mankind will be consigned to an “eternal hell!”  They say that God is omnipotent (all-powerful) yet He can’t stop people from going to an “eternal hell,” forever separated from God and His loving presence.  My God is capable of saving all mankind and in fact will save all mankind because His Word says so.  Take a look at 1 Tim 4:10 for yourself (10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.)  This is one of many verses supporting my claim, that God will save all His creation, including all His people, you know, His image-bearers.  Your challenge today, is to comment and ask me to supply you with further evidence of my claim.  Should you  accept my challenge, you may come to an understanding that the reason my theology changed was due to overwhelming evidence contrary to what I had been taught for so many years.

Let me know your thoughts on this statement and the supporting verses!

God’s blessings to you and His peace to you as well!

Craig

 

 

 

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Filed under "All" Passages, God's Love, Grace, Hell, truth, Understanding the Bible, Universal salvation

If Hell Is Eternal Separation From God, Then…

God cannot be omnipresent.  The modern church believes that God is everywhere and there is no place where God is not.  David supported this teaching when he said,

“(Psa 139:7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

(Psa 139:8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

(NOTE:  The whole chapter is worthy of your time and meditation!)

Yet, the modern church also believes that eternal conscious torment in hell is away from God’s presence.  They say, as I did for many years, that hell is eternal separation from God.  How can this be?  This is an oxymoron.  The term oxymoron is an oxymoron (composed of two words meaning sharp and dull, implied that one thing is both sharp and dull at the same time).  So, my question to the modern church is this; how can God be omnipresent yet be eternally separate from hell?  Is there anything God created outside His presence and control?  If you wrestle with these things let me  assure you that God is not a liar, nor is there anything He created outside His presence nor is the modern concept of hell as eternal separation from God true.  It is false and that itself should give you hope, and the knowledge that God is not  a monster but a lover of His creation who only has the best in store for it (them).

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What Must One Know To Be Saved (Inherit the Kingdom)?

I have given this question so much thought through the last decade, and I have an answer that many/most Christians would not/never agree with.  But, it is biblical and it is fully supported by Jesus and I pity those who would say I am wrong.  This is my 100th post and I thought that I would make it a thought-provoking question post.

“What must one know to be saved?”

Think long before you answer.  Think deeply before you answer.  I challenge you to remind yourself of the fruit of the Spirit as Paul mentions in Galatians 5  (22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law).   I also want you to place yourself back in the days of Jesus and imagine that you have laced up your sandals, pulled tight your robe, and are following after Jesus on His journey around Galilee and Capernaum in the biblical narrative.  Around you are many types of people; nay-sayers, questioners, believers, young, old, children, babies. Then Jesus stops and gets asked a question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom.  Jesus calls a child over to himself and says:

Matthew 18:3 (LEB)
3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like young children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Now, what is your answer to my question?  Are you summoning up a long list of do’s and don’t’s?  Are you putting together the Sunday School /seminary answer of “you must repent, you must believe, etc.?”  Well, let me give you my take and I believe Jesus’ take on salvation and being IN Him, In Christ.

What did that little child understand about Jesus?  What could he have possibly known about Jesus?  What would/did Jesus require of that child to be greatest in the Kingdom?  Did Jesus require them to have a highly evolved and highly complex theology about “The Christ” and the Father and the Spirit, along with a detailed set of beliefs, details that have eluded and excluded most of the human race from God and Jesus according to the church, both throughout the Middle Ages up to and including the modern era?

Or, did this child, and Jesus’ expectations for entry into the Kingdom focus on Jesus’ love and how He loved people?  I believe the answer ot the question is simply “love!”  Jesus expects us to love as a child loves.  That is really all a child could understand about Jesus, that He is love and loves unconditionally!  I believe it is as simple as that.  The more light we are given the more we can love God and others, but I do not believe anyone has to have a developed understanding of Jesus beyond “God is love, Jesus is Gd, Jesus is love” and live in that belief and share that belief with others through our actions in life.

Reader, I love you with the love of Christ and am trying to live more of that love everyday.  I fail but I am striving to be more like Christ in this simple way since I believe it is the most important thing we could ever pass on to one another and help each other with.  Be blessed in the warmth of His love today.  I pray I have given you hope and help straight from the mind of Christ today.  As always, feel free to share with me the edification Christ has given you and the love He has given you that I too, may be blessed by it.  Let me know what your heart speaks regarding this issue.  And let’s praise God together for it!

Amen and Amen!

Craig

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